Tyler Salvation Army worker has guitar stolen

Instead of giving, someone took from a Red Kettle worker. Troy Axtems works for the Salvation Army and has been playing and singing Christmas carols with his guitar for about a month. But Tuesday, someone stole his guitar outside the Walmart on Troup Highway in Tyler. KLTV 7's Courtney Lane met with Troy today, who says despite this setback, it's not dampening his Christmas spirit.

What most commonly comes to mind are bell ringers, but for Troy Axtems it was his guitar.

"Kids love it. You know when I start doing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer or some Christmas song they're enthralled by it."

Troy has been playing about 30 years and was using his musical gift to raise money for the Salvation Army. That is, until Tuesday.

"I sat the guitar down to take my kettle in to the service desk because when you go on a break you can't leave it unattended. So, I went and did that and by the time I returned that guitar was gone," said Troy.

Axtems says no one saw anything, not even Walmart security.

"Whoever took it saw a chance, grabbed it and ran."

He feels lost now without his acoustic guitar, which went with him everywhere.

"It's like being a carpenter without a hammer. You know, as a musician without your hammer you can't do nothing," said Troy.

But Axtems and the Salvation Army aren't letting it ruin their efforts.

"It's just a sad thing that happened but once again, we're not going to allow it to get our Christmas spirit down because we recognize it was one. And as we think about that one we think about the thousands that walk by the kettle who instead of taking, give," said Zach Bell.

Axtems says he hopes whoever took it, uses it for good.

Courtney Lane, reporting. clane@kltv.com